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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Me and Kaylee on a morning walk

I love my morning walks with Kaylee. She runs off thrilled with all of the wonderful stink of the waterways, darting back to make sure I am still there then running off to follow yet another trail. This is her sniffing her way along the bottoms, where I am walking in a soft silt that is usually covered with water and reeds. We are in our 3rd or 4th year of 'drought' conditions here, leaving this special little niche for us to peruse at our leisure. And not just us, this circle is the handiwork of a dirt bike that has come to play and left a perfect donut - how fun it would have been to see that, I can just imagine. There are also figure 8's drawn nearby in the earth; what a good time they had. As I hike up out of the ravine the view at the top is breathtaking. So much so that I forgot to take a picture. Large majectic live oaks spreading green branches before the back drop of light golden hills that the sun has just reached for the first time that morning. It's been cloudy and the foothills beyond are still dark, but this one set of low hills just gleams a brilliant welcome and I reach my hands up high to the sky and stretch back in a yoga morning pose. Breathing deeply, feeling the softness of my stomach expand and contract a few times before the headiness of it all overwhelms me and vertigo sets in. Back up straight I take a few minutes to really absorb all I am seeing, taking the time to let it all sink in before heading back home, back across the asphalt to the tract homes. As I put Kaylee back on her leash and head home I am filled with the joy of this earth, this world, and so grateful that I am a part of it .

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cal Cup Archery Tournament

I am so happy with this beautiful little bowl! This is the 2nd place trophy I brought home from a weekend of shooting up in Sacramento. Two years ago my honey brought home his own 2nd place bowl, and last year he won his gold match for the 1st place bowl on the left in the next picture. These are hand made by an archer, and it feels so good to add my own bowl to our little collection. I love the wood, the colours, the shape, the pattern of it all - they are just wonderful. But I have to say that as much as I loved placing 2nd, it was the group of women I was shooting with that made my weekend so fun. Some good competition is always good for one's own performance, and their cheery attitude was a joy to be around.

There are only 3 weeks left until the National Senior games that we are training for, to be held in Palo Alto the first weekend in August. I have been shooting almost every day preparing for this event, and I know from the online listings of registrants that I will have some competition there. Only 3 of us so far, but that is better than winning by default because you are the only one in your age bracket! It's so ridiculous that I am even qualified to shoot in a 'senior' event, but the reality is that I am in my 50's. I still feel young in so many ways, and I know that if I would take the time to add some yoga to my exercise regime my stiff hips would loosen up - that is about the only time I feel my age, when I have been sitting for too long curled up and stand too quickly. I imagine that as I lose more weight that will help get rid of this particular problem too. But I digress. My archery has gone a long way to restoring my sanity this past year. I started shooting this past October, when I had to shoot if I was going to qualify for the upcoming games. But some small spark of my old competative nature took hold that day, and each passing month I have become more and more serious about my shooting. Letting my honey help me with my form, trying to listen and adjust to become a better shooter. All with the goal of shooting one good arrow at a time.

And I can't help but see the analagy of how this sums up how I want to live my life; one good moment at a time, leading to one good day at a time, and within those moments and days building back this life into a new healthier shape. I've never before felt like this was something I had any control over, this forming of a life, nor did I ever want control I think. It took me years to accept that I didn't have to have the same type of motivation and ambition that my siblings had, to learn that maybe it's better to just let leaves lay where they fell and live a life that was 'meant' to be. But I think I am doing a little poking around with a rake now, and making little decisions to tweak my path. I love the part of 'Eat Pray Love' where Liz (author Elizabeth Gilbert) is explaining to her friend that when she prays she asks for the strength and fortitude to accept whatever is coming her way. Her friend says something like, whatever gave you that crazy idea? You are a part of this world, a constituant, and you have the right to petition the universe for what you want! I just loved this, because like Liz, I just ever asked for the strength to 'accept what I cannot change and courage to accept the rest.' I think I picked that up from years of Alanon meeting living with alcoholics and addicts, but do I really believe in that particular prayer now? I don't think so. I think we DO have the right to ask for change, to have a say in our universe. So the tone and focus of my prayers have changed, I just need to say them more often ;)

How did I get from archery to prayer? I sometimes have to laugh at the way I meander all over the place, but I know we all do that. And between those two things was the mantra I used a dozen times over the course of the weekend to refocus and steady my breathing, "Hum Sa"(I am that (God)), giving me a place of calm to quiet my thoughts, and focus on the center of the target that was 70 meters away. To bring in oxygen to fee the muscles I needed to make one good shot after another. Not of course that they were all good. At the end of the first day I was down by 30 points to my main competition. But I beat my personal best score by 19 points I think, and at the end of the day I was only down 21 points from the State record. Definitely something to shoot for ;)

So that's where I've been, busy shooting and walking my little dog and even doing push ups to build my upper body strength for pulling arrows out of the target - sometimes a really hard thing to do! I see myself just doing more and more of the same as these final weeks play out, and while I should be focusing on earning a living, instead I am focusing on being happy and working on shooting better. After Nationals will be soon enough to worry about paying the mortgage :)